I just went through my flags and saw that some were declined with the following reason:

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

For example: these two questions were flagged as low quality and migratable respectively. These actions require mod intervention, but the flags were declined with the above reason.

So: why shouldn't I have flagged these type of questions?

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  • I declined that flag on the first question and honestly: I don't remember why. It was over half a year ago. – Ian C. Feb 4 '15 at 17:44
  • @IanC. Oh, these were just two examples, I was more aiming at the general case. – Saaru Lindestøkke Feb 4 '15 at 21:41
  • Yea, but usually I can look and it'd be something obvious like I'd rather you had down voted it or made an edit or something like that. But I have zero clue in this case. If you flagged that today I would have put it on hold. Sorry about that. Human and all that... – Ian C. Feb 4 '15 at 22:26

In a nutshell, just because a flag was declined doesn't mean at all you shouldn't have raised them. I'll try to break down how I see things:

I wouldn't flag it as low quality (which is what it looks like you chose). It's too broad / unclear - there's clearly something that would be on-topic. Unless there was a pattern of bad questions or spammy activity - I'd probably put it on hold instead of insta-deleting, but I didn't dig deeply into that user to see if/why it was handled for deletion.

This was flagged as other asking for migration. That flag should be declined since we cannot migrate anything more than a few months old. Even then, it's perfectly fine here.

Apart from the specifics, here are things to consider in general when moderators handle flags. A problem arises when there are multiple flags on the same post. Sometimes a moderator has to choose the lesser of two evils and decline all flags if most of them are wrong. Also - sometimes I mis-click and decline a flag that should have been approved. I don't know if that happened, but if you end up with a dozen declines amongst 100 flags - I wouldn't worry. If you get 50% flags declined, then absolutely ask here for explanation, help, etc...

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When it comes to migration, our policy in the past here has been only to migrate if the poster requested it. If the post were off-topic here, we close. If the post is on-topic here, we leave it here unless the poster requests sending it somewhere else. So a migration flag from someone other than the OP would be declined. We've had pretty heavy moderator turnover since that policy was explained to me, so I don't know it that is current practice by all current mods, but that's what I was taught, and thus why I declined the flag in question.

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Regarding "low quality" flags in general, there isn't very much a moderator can do which non-mod users can't do as well

  • downvote
  • leave a comment asking for clarification/improvements
  • improve the post directly by editing it (this is actually the preferred option)

That's why I tend to decline "low quality" flags from higher-rep users (with higher rep starting at the point where the user gets access to the review queue).

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    This is also the approach I take. It doesn't take a mod to down vote a low quality answer. If something is ambiguously an answer, but low quality, I'll decline the flag. Users are expected to be voting on SE sites. – Ian C. Feb 5 '15 at 17:28

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